State health officials are again urging vaccinations as Covid-19 cases continue to rise, especially among younger adults.

North Carolina recent experienced its largest single-day jump in hospital ICU admissions since the pandemic began. From August 8 to August 9, ICU admissions related to Covid-19 jumped to 557 from 502.

That same week, 9, 547 people age 20-49 were admitted to hospitals with Covid-19, and weekly hospitalizations among that age group were at an all-time high.

“These high-levels of Covid-related admissions jeopardize the ability of our hospitals to provide needed care in our communities,” said Kody H. Kinsley, chief deputy secretary for health at NCDHHS. The vast majority of our Covid-19 hospitalizations are in unvaccinated people. This underscores the need for everyone to be vaccinated against the virus and use preventative measures to slow the spread of Covid-19.”

Due to the highly contagious Delta variant, North Carolina’s other key Covid-19 metrics are also increasing, including the percent of tests that are positive — which has been over 10% for the past week. 

There have been 31,036 cases reported over the past seven days compared to 19,911 cases in the preceding seven days — a 56% increase — and hospitalizations have more than doubled since July 27 and are at the highest they have been since Feb. 11. 

The CDC’s Community Transmission Map shows nearly all North Carolina counties are experiencing substantial to high community transmission, says NCDHHS.

Dr. Eric Eskioglu, Novant Health’s chief medical and scientific officer, said the health system is on track to match or exceed the hospitalization surge it experienced in January.

“Unfortunately, we have more than a 1,000% increase in Covid-19 hospital admissions today compared to just three weeks ago,” Eskioglu said. “The average age of hospitalized Covid-19 patients is also 44, down from 61 in January. More than 90% of patients hospitalized with Covid are unvaccinated, and they are sicker than the patients we saw during earlier surges. 

“Entire families are presenting in our emergency rooms for Covid testing,” he said. “This surge is still preventable. I urge and plead with everyone to get vaccinated now.”

To find a vaccine in your area, use the Find a Vaccine Location tool at or call 888-675-4567. You can also text your zip code to 438829 to find vaccine locations near you.

Sarafina covers Historic West End under a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. She earned a journalism degree from Howard University. Email news tips to

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